Canadian import Tyler Ardron is loving every minute in New Zealand with the Gallagher Chiefs.
The 26-year old has impressed since coming into the side, showcasing dominant performances as a lock in big New Zealand derbies against the Highlanders and Blues, as well as scoring on his Investec Super Rugby debut against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
“I’m loving my first season. It’s such an enjoyable environment to come into every morning - great guys and good vibes and the footy is the best I’ve ever played so I’m having a great time.”
Ardron signed for the Gallagher Chiefs from Welsh club Ospreys where he played for four seasons across the European competition.
The impressive Canadian has captained his national side at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and worked alongside assistant coach Neil Barnes who was there as a specialised forwards coach.
Tyler has noticed a step up in the level of rugby since coming to New Zealand, experiencing the Chiefs environment and playing Super Rugby.
“The biggest change is we have over 50 guys in the squad that are all unreal rugby players – they can use the ball, have great footwork and they can all tackle. The depth isn’t quite as strong in Europe. The game is fast and physical over here and there’s a lot of decision making. You get to make up your mind and do what feels right which is a lot of fun compared to a really structured game.”
The Canadian also noted the passion of the fans in Chiefs country and how special it is playing at FMG Stadium Waikato.
“It’s my favourite stadium to play in at the moment! It only took a couple of games but the atmosphere is amazing. Its special being there with the boys and having a haka on the sideline as we are about to run out – there’s nothing quite like it.”
Tyler commented on feeling more and more integrated in the team and is happy with the form he’s showing.
“My highlight has been the acceptance of all the boys. I feel like I’m starting to find a little form and find my place in the team which is very nice, you don’t want to get too comfortable but you also don’t want to be on the edge worrying all the time.”
The culture of the club has resonated with the Canadian where he’s felt the connection of family strongly.
“I wish I could explain the culture in words better so I could take it back to Canada because it is unreal. The emphasis you have on where you come from and your family and what actually got you here is something I’ve really connected with– all the guys here are so tight and you say good morning to everyone when you walk in in the morning which makes a big difference every day."
Tyler is part of the Gallagher Chiefs travelling squad to South Africa, where the team will take on the Stormers and the Sharks. The first game of the South African tour kicks off this Sunday at 1:05am.